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Mary Todd Lincoln
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Critic Reviews for Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln is a startlingly superlative accomplishment.
Working with the sort of mythic material later associated with John Ford, Griffith gives us a primordial Lincoln, perfectly incarnated by Walter Huston, and a dreamlike sense of destiny that his camera fully articulates.
It is quite a worthy pictorial offering with a genuinely fine and inspiring performance by Walter Huston in the role of the martyred President.August 19, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
D. W. Griffith's first sound film, from 1930, is as ungainly and majestic as its subject.
Detractors and fans of the divisive Griffith should at least agree, however, on the wearying dullness of this arid affair.November 18, 2020 | Full Review…
The fact that it draws tears is rather against it than for it. The pathos of a tremendous social occurrence should not be refined or lachrymose, but revealing. The social occurrence seldom gets a chance here.March 25, 2020 | Full Review…
Audience Reviews for Abraham Lincoln
Jan 06, 2014This is the earliest biographical film about American president Abraham Lincoln, and is directed by D. W. Griffith. It stars Walter Huston as Lincoln and Una Merkel, in her second speaking role, as Ann Rutledge. The script was co-written by Stephen Vincent Benét, author of the Civil War prose poem John Brown's Body. This was the first of only two sound films made by Griffith. The film was not a hit at the time, which is understandable with all the inaccuracies in it. Later on, this movie was included as one of the choices in the book The Fifty Worst Films of All Time. But, it is not so bad! This is the early film making, and the significance is that we can witness the great D.W. Griffith's work, with all the good and bad things from the time. The first act of the film covers Lincoln's early life as a storekeeper and rail-splitter in New Salem and his early romance with Ann Rutledge, and his early years as a lawyer and his courtship and marriage to Mary Todd in Springfield. The majority of the film deals with Lincoln's presidency during the Civil War and culminates with Lee's surrender and Lincoln's assassination at Ford's Theater. The good thing about this movie is that covers some little known aspects of Lincoln's early life, such as his romance with Ann Rutledge, his depression and feared suicidal tendencies after her death, and his unexplained breaking off of his engagement with Mary Todd (although the film surmises that this was due to unresolved feelings over Ann Rutledge and adds a dramatic scene where Lincoln stands Mary up on their scheduled wedding day, which never happened). The early scenes of Lincoln's life are very accurate, but much of the later scenes contain historical inaccuracies. From the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, to the depictions of some of the characters - General Winfield Scott is depicted as being overconfident of a quick victory (and something of a buffoon), when in reality he was one of the voices in the minority claiming the war would be long, and he would also have been taller than Lincoln at 6'5". At the climax of the film, Lincoln delivers a conflation of famous words from the Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural Address at Ford's Theatre on April 14, 1865 - just moments before being assassinated... these things were chosen by the director and felt out of place. This is a movie for people who want to see the old master's work - not his best one, but still with his signature.Panta O Super Reviewer
Jan 14, 2012An episodic, classroom-style retelling of the life of the most famous U.S. president. D.W.Griffith, an unabashed southern sympathizer, lends his sweeping style to a large task: how to fit the ups and downs of the Civil War, no less, into a little less than two hours, and the result is stilted, static filmmaking, with actors standing in different rooms and reacting to news of the war. Huston does his best but is defeated by Griffith's heavy hand.Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
Jul 10, 2010This early sound film from D.W. Griffith is almost episodic in its telling of the life of our 16th president. The editing gives the film no flow, but rather the scenes -- all cut down to the barest of information -- seem to each stand alone, as if the film was just a collection of film clips. There are some well-done miniature sets, and Walter Huston makes a good Honest Abe, but it's clear that Griffith's best work was behind him.Cindy I Super Reviewer
Dec 07, 2008Hey folks,a Lincoln biography predecessor to the Spielberg triumphant results in a couple of years!Seriously,a well-made film brings in a rather static picture of a legend in U.S. history,be it a worthwhile one or a fraud.This is one of Griffith's lesser moments,probably because he sensed the tumultuous ending of silent cinema,so he did his best and the performance of Walter Huston stands amongst the flaws.Dimitris S Super Reviewer
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